Chocolate and Caffeine toxicity

As the holidays approach nearer, the risk of exposure to chocolate and caffeine containing products increases substantially.  Theobromine is a chemical compound found in chocolate that is toxic to dogs and cats.  Theobromine, along with caffeine results in a multitude of clinical signs depending upon the quantity ingested.

Some clinical signs that can be seen are vomiting, diarrhea, excessive water consumption and urination, impaired balance and coordination (ataxia), fast and irregular heartbeat (cardiac arrhythmia) and central nervous system stimulation such as hyperexcitability and seizures at high doses.

Common Chocolate and Caffeine Containing Products

  • Cacao Beans
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Unsweetened Baking Chocolate
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Coffee Beans
  • Brewed Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola Beverages
  • Caffeine Supplements (ie. pill supplements, energy drinks, etc…)

Each product contains a varying amount of theobromine and caffeine resulting in varying degrees of severity of clinical signs.

You should avoid feeding your pets any type of chocolate or caffeine containing products and you should store them out of reach in a safe location to restrict accidental exposure.

Halloween is approaching and the risk is substantially increased, so be diligent in keeping candy away from your pets.

If you see your pet eating chocolate or suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate you should bring them to the vet immediately.  If you notice that your pet is experiencing any of the clinical signs listed above, it is important to have them checked out as soon as possible.

– Christie

Injection-site Sarcomas in cats

An injection-site sarcoma is a commonly occurring tumor that typically arises secondary to vaccine administration or other injections. These tumors were once known as vaccine-site sarcomas, vaccine-associated fibrosarcoma or vaccine-associated sarcomas, however these terms are now considered to be outdated due to the incidence of tumors arising from injections that are not vaccinations.

The incidence of the development of these tumors is 1 in 10,000 patients however some resources indicate the incidence being as low as 1 in 1000 patients. There is some evidence to show that there may be a genetic predisposition for the development of these tumors.

Diagnosis is made with histopathologic evaluation of the tissue. This along with location of the tumor and vaccine history are used to make the diagnosis. Aggressive surgical excision is recommended (rather than incisional biopsies). In some cases, advanced imaging such as CT scans may be required to fully identify the extent of the tumor and aid in complete excision

Treatment for Injection-site sarcomas include surgical excision, sometimes preceded by radiation therapy. In some cases radiation is recommend post-excision as well to control incompletely excised tumor.

Some complications associated with injection-site sarcomas include dehiscence (opening up) of the surgical sites, infection at the surgical site and secondary radiation effects.

The prognosis of injection-site sarcomas depends upon the stage and location of the tumor.

What is Leptospirosis?!?!

Leptospirosis is a bacteria spread in the urine of infected animals that causes a variety of symptoms ranging from lethargy, vomiting, anorexia, fever and more. This bacteria can affect the liver and kidneys of infected patients. A big concern for patient’s that are infected with leptospirosis is the risk of the bacteria being spread from your pet to you!

Some steps you can take to prevent the spread of leptospirosis are:

  1. Vaccinate your pet. Although no vaccine is 100% effective, this can provide some protection.
  2. Take the proper steps to eliminate rodent infestations. Rats, mice and other animals are capable of carrying and spreading leptospirosis
  3. Clean suspected infected surfaces with dilute bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
  4. Eliminate sources of standing water on your property

For more information about leptospirosis and how it can impact people and animals please visit the CDC’s website linked below

Stay up to date on food recalls

The American Veterinary Medical Association maintains a database listing pet food and treat recalls. This database can be sorted by pet (ie. dog, cat, or other); can be view by the last 90’days or the last 365 days. This serves as a good resource for veterinarians and the public to keep track of both FDA mandated and voluntarily recalled products. See the link below: